This is a tell-all-your-friends, lend-it-to-everyone-you-know book about parenthood.
Title: Nurture the Wow
Author: Danya Ruttenberg
Source: Raincoast Books for review
Description from Goodreads:
Every day, parents are bombarded by demands. The pressures of work and life are relentless; our children’s needs are often impossible to meet; and we rarely, if ever, allow ourselves the time and attention necessary to satisfy our own inner longings. Parenthood is difficult, demanding, and draining. And yet, argues Rabbi Danya Ruttenberg, if we can approach it from a different mindset, perhaps the work of parenting itself can offer the solace we seek.
Rooted in Judaism but incorporating a wide-range of religious and literary traditions, Nurture the Wow asks, Can ancient ideas about relationships, drudgery, pain, devotion, and purpose help make the hard parts of a parent’s job easier and the magical stuff even more so? Ruttenberg shows how parenting can be considered a spiritual practice—and how seeing it that way can lead to transformation. This is a parenthood book, not a parenting book; it shows how the experiences we have as parents can change us for the better.
Enlightening, uplifting, and laugh-out-loud funny, Nurture the Wow reveals how parenthood—in all its crazy-making, rage-inducing, awe and joy-filled moments—can actually be the path to living fully, authentically, and soulfully.
What I Thought:
Every once in a while I come across a parenting book that makes me completely reexamine the way I mother. Mothers of the Village was the last one to do that. Danya Ruttenberg does it again.
I love how in the description of this book it states that this is a parenthood book. It really is! Nurture the Wow doesn’t teach you how to parent, but rather how to be a more connected, more grounded, more fulfilled parent.
I’m not Jewish, but I loved learning more about the ancient faith. This definitely isn’t a book just for Jewish people however, and Ruttenberg uses quotations from people from all walks of life, from all faiths, and from both historical and contemporary sources.
She made a concerted effort to be as inclusive as possible, and acknowledges differing (or similar) experiences from adoptive parents, LGBT parents, and more.
I loved that this book was intelligent and stimulating. This isn’t something you pick up and plow through. This is a book you really invest time into. And it’s worth it.
One of my favourite subjects she writes about is changing our relationship with our children from an I-It relationship to an I-Thou relationship. In an I-It relationship we view the other half as merely a means to an end. The example she uses is of a waitress who brings us food. We don’t care about her life, we just want our pizza.
“An I-Thou relationship, on the other hand, is one in which the other person is fully seen, and fully accepted – regarded as a whole being, full of hopes and dreams and selfhood, and, if this language makes sense to you, created in the divine image… in which we ask: Where are you? What are you going through?”
Being reminded that the little turkeys in my house, despite being miniature sized, are full little people, was something I needed. Not to say I don’t think my kids are people… (I’m not a bad person, I swear!) Sometimes it’s just good to remember that beneath the screaming, crying, pooping, irrational, beautiful, amazing mess that kids can be, there is a little soul inside needing to be nurtured.
That is what this book did. It gently reminded me to nurture the wow.
For more from Danya Ruttenberg, visit her website here.
Here’s another book (a novel, this time) that I enjoyed that examined Judaism: The Ladies Auxiliary
But if I lend it to you, YOU HAVE TO GIVE IT BACK.
So guys, what’s your favourite parenting book? Or have you read any terrible ones that we need to stay away from?